Beelzebub asked me to step forward and take up a new role as an influencer, which means I get to test lots of free things and write about them. The upside is that you know this means all the ‘millennials’ are going to hell.
My dream job, but, hang on, hadn’t I being do that all these years, isn’t this why you all want to come back as me; has my work gone unappreciated by the ‘Dark Lord’?
‘Ungrateful’ is the only printable word I can come up with, a ten letter word in a nine letter game.
For years I have been successfully leading you all astray, with a collection of the Emperor’s finest new clothes, and now ‘He’ says he wants me to influence you. Pah. May he burn in the fires of hell, along with his six brothers!
You want a piece of me, exactly mate you, and whose family?
Step outside the gates of the dark web and we’ll see who is boss.
Anyway they’ve been way too busy, the seven princes have infested the Premier League, Costa, Sanchez, Aguero, Ozil, Coutinho, Mahrez and Vardy have spread unrest and dissent amongst the ranks of the faithful.
Several of them have got their fingers trapped in the transfer window as it closed, that’s got to hurt! They’ll now all be sulking around for the next 4 months blowing on them until the portal opens once more, meanwhile their harbingers are wandering round with begging bowls the size of the dish at the Arecibo Observatory, which just so happens to be the size of 30 football pitches.
Arsene Wenger has once more shown he is suffering from ‘Martyr Complex’, ‘the belief that as a martyr he has been singled out for persecution because of exceptional ability or integrity’! My good friend Tony describes football as theatre for the working class, he’s so existential.com.
Along with the new football season we have heralded in autumn, cooler nights, the harvest, SAD lamps, it won’t be good enough to set your smartphone screen to the highest setting, pumpkins, and Tressemay might be caught clod hopping through fields of wheat, searching for a five bar gate.
Behind her trying to resolve the revolving Brexit negotiations, the five have hopped over a stile and are off to Smuggler’s Top via Castaway Hill. Giggling and squabbling, DD, BJ, Foxy, Pretty P and Amber with her ruddy complexion have gone off in search of the drinks cabinet and lashings of ginger bear, or more likely pink gin.
Playa del Muro
Anyways, back to my role as an influencer. As you well know I have been going to Ibiza for an age, please don’t ask it’s not polite, but this year I have been sunning myself on Mallorca, momentarily waiting for someone to let some of the air out of Ibiza’s tyres, before it really does turn into the Las Vegas of Europe. I stayed in two beautiful family run small hotels, in both the service and food were impeccable and with fantastic pools:
Cata at Can Moio and Cristina at Hort de cas Misser were both wonderful hosts, and both places offer very different rural environments.
Nature Reserve at Playa del Muro
I am about to be controversial, but as an influenza I think those big ole bushy beards are about to catch a cold. I know; I know you’ll say I’ve had it in for them all along, but by next summer everyone will have chins more like Peter Perfect.
Have I turned into a news junkie, I can feel a rising panic, life on earth is to be threatened by a shower of comets and meteors caused by the beautiful Gisele 710. How could something with such a balletic name threaten our lovely planet, perhaps by an act of love she will free us from the grasp of this evil and Albrecht will defend us from the Wilis with his mighty sword… Sorry stopped to breathe into a paper bag for a moment… I was hyperspacing!
Phew, finally read the article to the end, it’s OK apparently it’s not going to happen for another 1.3 million years and by then I’ll be ready retire anyway, I’m sure skin treatments will have moved on and I won’t need to put my face on the ironing board.
There’s a good chance by then that Donald may have tripped over the end of his long red tie and stumbled onto the nuclear button, or Lil’ Kim may have nuked the bloke who cuts his hair, it’s a work of art according to my good friend Raoul, who well versed in these things. By all accounts the bowl they cut round to get this shape from can only be found deep in the Amazon and it is used to prepare hallucinogenic compounds, however it seems it is available for Prime delivery!!
A panorama what a surprise and the church I found there.
Everybody is headed for the Canadian Border, and even the Canadian Immigration website crashed when all the Americans realised Nigel Farage Donald had won.
The ‘Perfect Storm’ is brewing
First Brexit and then The Donald, the wind of change is blowing a gale and the only thing not moving is Donald’s quiff.
Apparently Francois Hollande is impeach, I thought Michael Portillo and I were the only people who wore that colour!
Monsieur Hollande should take a tip from Donald’s coiffeur, as it probably costs a great deal of money to arrange this particular topiary, something little Frankie is not shy of, at least Donald looks like he gets value for money. Frankie’s hairdresser has to deal with his helmet hair, where as the Donald’s had a helmet made to minimise the effect!
You just know that his head will appear on a dollar bill one day. Perhaps the billion dollar note, which he will be unable to use because no one will be able, or want to give him change.
Much like the €500 note.
Donald is now familiarising himself with the White House.
Where best to have the photos for Hola taken, perhaps add a condo, or a golf course and resort.
But apparently he is having problems accessing one or two areas. Some of the doors are locked and he is being shadowed by someone from the FBI telling him there is nothing to see behind them!
They’ve even removed anything with buttons on, including the remote controls and microwaves just in case he gets the midnight munchies, or needs to go for a Wikileak and it ends in Armaggedon, rather than a Pot Noodle. Just when Hillary thought she had first dibs on Jon Bon Jovi, you wouldn’t want to miss a thing!
I’ve heard that he may be given one of those telephones with the big keys, but it’ won’t be wired up, as Vlad the Lad will be listening in.
He’s got that sulky look on his face that he gets when he’s done something to upset Ivana and she is reading the riot act, and Hugh Hefner (is he still with us?) is off the Christmas Card list, even at 90 he’s been staying up all night!
Wandering in the hallways of the White House, Donald is suddenly confronted by a faun, and the faun beckons him into one of the many bedrooms. Donald thinks finally the magic will happen and he will understand the inner machinations and workings that go on behind those locked doors.
The faun opens a wardrobe door and ushers Donald through, his tiny hands pushing away Melania’s fur coats, on and on the two of them wander until Donald feels his feet starting to get wet and suddenly the path drops steeply away, and Donald is falling; faster and faster, then there is daylight and Donald is catapulted through the air landing with a huge splash in a giant swimming pool to huge cheers.
When he surfaces, next to him in the pool are Hugh Hefner and Snoop Dog, leading the cheering crowd is Hillary dressed as the white witch and directing a Mexican wave!
Hillary and the crowd shout in Unison, “Welcome to our all inclusive resort!”
In the real world the person that appears to be Donald is softening his stance, keeping Obamacare and talking not about building stonewalls, but fences he can sit on.
Have you noticed how his hair is parted on the other side, and do his hands do seem slightly larger?
I have, as I always have; been tripping the light fantastic.
There is some new stock, but this newsletter is merely window dressing, a little foreplay before the main event, call it a drip feed.
I could employ a ‘fluffer’ to keep you all entertained, plumping pillows, stroking cashmere, but already I can feel your minds starting to wander. In a future life I may come back as a goldfish, anyway, where was I? Whoa… stop: side of the bowl!
Lest we forget
To begin the beguine, I would like to thank everyone for their support on my little trip to New York. It was a pleasure to see you all, some old friends, and some new.
And I fell in love, her name is Erica, she’s not yet 2 and adorable. Sorry Henry!
As you can gather I will be planning many more jaunts to quench my thirst for wanderlust, and for those of you who are unsure, ‘wanderlust’ is not a cocktail. I can already see this newsletter will be full of explanations, definitions and double entendres, and that’s starting to confuse the spell checker.
I could sit around all day reading philosophy, pretending I understood Seneca, but as a goldfish I swim in shallower water. The world’s sfumatore is a grey mist, I am a child of blue skies, and talking of blue skies, I was back in Ibiza at the weekend.
Neil world famous tattooist invited me out for a few days cycling, he is a changed man, his days of partying are behind him, now it’s all carbon fibre (fiber for the Americans amongst you), gear ratios and black Lycra.
Two great, long rides in two days, the first included a stop for lunch at Puertas del Cielo. I may have had a slight accident afterwards, whilst I was standing still. Why are there always paparazzi around at moments like this?
The second ride was on the beautiful island of Formentera. I had always assumed that the island was entirely flat! Well it is; apart from the long climb up to the lighthouse at Pilar de la Mola.
Creative writing moment… I climbed the hill up to La Mola, my legs still heavy from the previous day’s exertions and the tarmac was dragging on my tyres in the heat, I navigated bend after bend as I made swift progress towards the summit. My thighs were starting to burn and I changed through the gears to keep my cadence steady, beads of sweat forming on my forehead, each turn led to another, the air thinning and filled with the scent of the pine trees, the tight Lycra clinging to me, fifty shades of blue, not much further… OK that’s enough, my mum might be reading this!!!
The Hills have Hills
The Hills of Formentera
Neil always carries a spare banana in his Lycra… Stop it!
On the way down to El Faro de la Mola he ate the banana and discarded the skin at the side of the road. We stopped at the lighthouse and took some photos, Neil drank a ‘Red Bull’, tucked the empty can into the pocket on the back of his shirt, we turned round to head back to the village, and a well-deserved beer.
We had cycled a few hundred metres when I was passed by a Police car, lights and siren on. There must have been some sort of emergency, perhaps a lost dog; you know one of those toy ones which live in a handbag, maybe it had locked itself out!
BUT no, they were pulling Neil over.
The older policeman who had been driving was lecturing Neil about the illegal dumping of a banana skin. Neil was saying as it was ‘residuos biodegradables’ (hablo español), he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it and then produced the empty ‘Red Bull’ can from his pocket which he was going to recycle!
The younger policeman in the passenger seat was laughing the whole time.
He’d noticed that Neil was smoking a joint.
This could only happen on Ibiza.
Neil was let off with a reprimand and offered to go back and pick the discarded skin up.
Meanwhile he had sent me the location of a dead hedgehog we’d seen at the side of the road; someone would be back for that later, to add to Neil’s menagerie in formaldehyde!
He was in London at the end of last week for a Tatttoo Convention, a great success and I know he was here to pick up a few special things!
Sadly we missed each other as I was preforming live on stage, well not on stage per say, more I was approached by a number of groupies to produce my best Robin Williams impersonation.
Please read to the end there will be some news that some of you may have been waiting for!
I have moved the information up the Newsletter as one or two of you were complaining that you were nodding off before the end!
The VOLPE Sale will start with previews from Wednesday 27th July 2016.
Right, so on with the important stuff.
So as the dust settles, tumbleweed rolls past the door.
A hosepipe ban is only hours away, we are basking in only the 4th day this year of over 25C, and according to Jake the year is nearly over.
They are frying eggs on the pavement… Easy-over there!
My mobile occasionally rings, I say occasionally.
When it isn’t a wrong number (stalkers from Italy), or a personal injury claim (of which I have several running at the moment, predominantly for my hurt feelings), it has been Theresa asking me to pop round and fix a cabinet, Jeremy to break up a fight in the school playground, Neptune to make him a new trident, or the FA ask for advice on how to dig a hole and then fill it in again, and again, and again.
Then there is the thud at the front door, do I dare to dream? Hollywood, a screenplay, a biopic, who would play me? I’d have to forget anyone who I ‘may’ have insulted through the magic that is this Newsletter, but as they are not named, they wouldn’t know.
The ‘D’ list definitely not, he’s done way too much Panto, and I don’t dress like Danny La Rue. Oh yes you do, Oh no I don’t. Stop!
Then there’s that other chap who got really hot and bothered by the photos of me in red Lycra. Given his physique, my vision of the romantic scenes would be of a wardrobe falling on someone, with the key still in, more cabinetmaker, than locksmith.
So it’s a case of who’s not working at the moment, and I must say it’s a bit of a struggle, as we have sadly lost a couple of candidates this year, we could have had me playing Prince, being me, but that’s just too weird even for me.
There are the usual suspects; Ryan Gosling, Ethan Hawke, Russell Crow or Jack Sparrow, even an avatar, but then I might get mistaken for a Pokemon. Go damn spot, go I say! Yet, who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him. I can hear Shakespeare a spinnin’, Macbeth versus Pokemon. “Lay on Macduff, and damned be him who first cries ‘Hold enough’!”
Ah! ‘Tempus Fugit’.
The maelstrom of political intrigue is threatening to engulf the holidays of our illustrious leaders and we are surrounded by those whose tousled locks are the stuff of legend.
Our Foreign Secretary who looks like he has been pulled through a hedge fund backwards following Brexit, The Donald whose hair is so swept over that there may be surfers trapped in there, and Uncle Bill whose split ends resulted in the most expensive haircut of all time, so spare thought as we are drawn towards le petit “Francois” who is clearly paying by instalments!
Will he be wearing a bathing cap to the beach this year, and what will be the repercussions for his coiffeur? After being paid €10,000 a month to deal with wee Franky’s helmet hair, how on earth will he banish those stray forehead tan lines and constant smell of rubber?
So whatever we feel about the gravy train, it will be followed by one carrying Hollandaise!
I’ve done a little more travelling. Aha! I hear you all exclaim at once, we were wondering how long it would take you to get there! I didn’t want to seem predictable and just rush in without a little foreplay.
I was back in Ibiza for an unveiling, well, less of an unveiling and more for a casting off. Neil had broken his wrist a month ago and finally the cast was removed. Finally God created man, and for those of you who thought I had yet more tattoos, this photo is of Neil’s hand!
Keep reading to the end!
And God created man
And the man’s genius is starting to head in a new direction.
Limited edition, hand engraved dials for a Milgauss.
We shared a long lunch under the umbrellas of the marina and on the wander back to town I spotted a Ferrari 458 hidden under a bleached cover, sheltering from the sun.
On the way to the airport and Rome for a little work, I stopped at Salinas for this.
I spent the evening in Rome with Max and his family, at the restaurant Il Moro with the owners Stefania and Simone.
Still one of my favourite places in the world to eat, and eat we did, to a standstill, until I could not eat another thing and just sit and watch the sun go down!
Once again I am asked how I come up with these phantasmagorical tales.
Well let me tell you.
You leave a couple of politicians in charge of the magical lantern and suddenly they are projecting all sorts of frightening images onto the wall, playing with our imagination, fuelling our fears, creating a farrago, until in their frenzy to outdo each other, they knock the magic lantern over and then scarper, blaming each other for burning the theatre down.
I think we drew the short straw.
The Italians have opera, which is their theatre drawn from real life, the Japanese; Kabuki with their exotic make-up, masks and songs, the Mexicans have their wrestling with its exotic make-up, masks and songs, just ask Donald; and the Welsh have Gareth Bale.
We have on the other hand have got the “The Good Old Days” back, with Leonard Sachs and all the pathos of a smug pug singing the “Marseillaise”. Apparently we have our country back?
Long, lazy days of doing sweet FA, not unlike our premiership superstars. Drinking cider in the parks, fighting like the Inter City Firm, no grudge too small, no boots too big, all in the days before love and ecstasy. How bizarre to see a smile on everyone’s face.
I owned an Austin Allegro with its oddly shaped, square steering wheel and it didn’t matter if it was made on a Friday, it was a dreadful car on whichever of the 3 days a week it was made. I think it ran on coal, and the suspension was made out of elastic bands.
Now admittedly if I was dragged back to “The Darling Buds of May” and Catherine Zeta-Jones was my Cherie Amour I might view it as a lovely summer day, but 1976 was a long time ago, and there is only so much rolling around in the hay one can do. Quiet, anybody who thinks they know better!
How the nostalgia seeps up through cracks in the pavement, and it will, but we have moved on.
With the French in charge of EDF, the Germans owning nPower and Eon UK, the Spanish, Scottish Power, to paraphrase ‘The Sun’; “If common sense does not prevail, will the last person to leave Britain please blow the candle out!”
I am fascinated to see how nasty politics has become. Perhaps they have been trapped in the underworld for a very long time with Perseus, drinking absinthe and caustic soda, watching endless repeats of Eastenders.
Hades raised an eyebrow. When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment, as if the garment was stitched of trapped souls from the Fields of Punishment, trying to get out.
If only I could get him to give Boris’s bike puncture!
Now, is not the time for politicians to enter into philosophical discussion, it is time to run. The masses now have pitchforks and the politicians are looking a lot like Wicker Men.
Anyway I shall head back to Ibiza, and Hedonism not Hades, I know where my priorities lie.
I will not be staying in the new rural hotel bocadilloed between the club DC10 and the airport. It is called ‘In Flagrante’. So if you are spied in ‘delicto’ it will be by drugged up clubbers from 500ft landing at 3am. I supposed you might say. “Only in Ibiza”.
Since May’s newsletter I have visited the island a couple of times. The first trip involved Neil, Tony and myself spending the night in the DJ booth at Pacha with a young, up and coming DJ called David Morales. The best set I have ever witnessed, below are a couple of photos.
Can you call me back, I’m working
It finished very late! As it did every night, and I will admit to falling asleep for 20 minutes at the bar, Itaxa at 6.30am, where they serenaded me into slumber with a Spanish guitar. The eighty year old lady, who owns it, gave me a tea towel for a pillow! Tony’s eyes were open, but don’t sharks sleep that way?
We visited a bar called Exis owned by Birgit a German friend and she has a wall covered in photos of clients over the years. It was a poignant reminder of losing my dear friend Richard, 5 years ago, and how many of the faces that stare out from these photos are still with us?
The photo speaks for itself.
We enjoyed the usual birthday celebrations on Formentera, and after 6 litres of vodka, this spider saw a fly and the hypnotic spray from the wake of the boat sped us from one paradise to another.
June is easily the best month in Ibiza, the sea not too crowded, nor the restaurants or bars, people are still calm. Neil is still drinking green tea, before the triple espresso, high octane ‘cafe caleta’ season starts.
As in the past I have used trips to Ibiza to avoid going to Pitti Uomo in Florence. This may be the final straw, and why I may never go again. I also re-iterate, this is not me. It is so wrong on so many levels and in what world does this person think this looks acceptable. There are moments in fashion where you realise that the vogue has reached a tipping point and those teetering on the brink will tumble into the sea to be dashed against the rocks, dresses made out of newspaper, anything with a medusa’s head, shoes that make you walk like Dick Emery and braces that look like a ‘Mankini’ for a dandy!
Lastly a sunset, because we have been bereft of suns a setting, lords a leaping, seven swans a swimming, I have been lucky with the ladies dancing, but one makes ones own luck? Unless you are sharing a table in a restaurant; some will know this story, the rest can only guess at how I might have been transformed!
And a Jakeism to end – Christmas is now closer than the last New Year. Joy, thy name is Time!
Following last month’s newsletter, I have had a note from my accountant asking me to stop wasting jokes. He said it costs too much money and I should know better.
Oh, what a joyless life I live!
Then that’s the problem with accountants, they are always ganging up on me, apparently there is safety in numbers!!!
I have set up new collaboration with a luggage maker in Italy.
The first pieces have now arrived, and the results are spectacular.
Made in a very soft brown calf leather and trimmed with orange leather handles and stitching they are limited to 3 pieces in each design.
Inside they are lined with brown cotton canvas and orange leather trim.
So firstly; for the man who has everything, a shirt carrier at £295
Secondly: a computer bag at £450
Thirdly; a carry-on wheelie at £750
Then there is of course the wedding photo!
And finally the Roll Bag, that isn’t a Roll Bag, but a suit carrier priced at £690. Sadly these are either all sold or on hold for people. I may make some more, in the same colour because of demand, but it will only be another 3, we will then change the colour combination.
Mine will be 88 in a few weeks. So I felt it might be a good idea to spend a few days with her because on the actual day I will no doubt be in Ibiza, celebrating it on her behalf!
However, the weekend did create a few interesting moments.
Some of you will have heard me tell of her epic levels of fitness, and the 80 steps she climbs at least once a day to her front door. It is not a pilgrimage worshipped, but a trip to recycle the empties! She’d raise a glass to that.
In my case, the grape didn’t fall far from the vine.
Living in Somerset, getting around can be problematic, the local bus company has just gone bust and taxis are few and far between. So if my brother and I are ‘Casa Mama’ she likes to get out and about.
This last weekend was glorious, long days, cloudless skies and warm sunshine.
On the Monday we went to the Valley of the Rocks in Lynton and my mother decided she was going to walk the South West Coast Path. The path although tarmacked, is only 3 feet wide with a sheer drop of 300 feet to the sea below on one side, and has no railing. Mum set off at a pace that would have Paula Radcliffe breathing hard.
Valley of the Rocks – The South West Coast Path
What I have failed to mention is that my mother suffers from Macular Degeneration and carries a white stick at all times! It is known as the ‘Nutkin Slayer’ due to the number of squirrels that have perished at its hand. When I ask mum about the state of her eyesight she pulls the Donald Pleasance trick from ‘The Great Escape’, I can’t tell you how many damn pins I have stood on in her kitchen.
I jogged along at her shoulder for well over a mile ensuring she didn’t make a hasty Brexit, then she ignored my offer of directions and we ended up a mile from the car. This lady wasn’t for turning, so whilst she sat and sipped a cup of Earl Grey, I jogged back to fetch it.
Mother, you want to walk WHERE?
We adjourned for lunch at The Black Venus in Challacombe, and before you ask she wasn’t the one of the ‘Three Graces’ that was banished for bad behaviour. It is a lovely pub, with wonderful food, and great service.
I have oft complained that there is nowhere local to my mother for a decent meal, but it seems times have changed. OK, my mother doesn’t drive; thankfully, and Challacombe is too far to go for an evening meal, however it was a wonderful treat for us.
On the list next time for mum and a must, is Reeves in Dunster. Absolutely fantastic is all I can say; the fact the sun was shining and we were sat in a walled garden dating back to the Norman Conquest looking at Dunster Castle only added to the pleasure of it. I shall pack mum into a taxi, or worse still get one of her octogenarian friends to drive her, the Yarn Market opposite has been standing for nearly a millennium, what could happen?
Before you ask, I have been abroad this month; I may have been to Ibiza.
Yes OK, twist my arm, it’s where I started the month. But now you’ve got me started!
My friends had a suitable haircut after last year, the marina is still the tripping hazard it always was. Oh, come on; not like that.
Neil and Scratch are on amazing form. The master continues to ply his trade, and I am starting to see shoots of maturity in his behaviour. He has taken up cycling, although from our conversations, it seems he is cycling mainly downhill. We lunched at Puerto de Cielo, a chiringuito perched high on a cliff near to San Antonio, a far flung place, yet sat on the next table was a client of mine from Miami. I am now world famous (I know not for what!), but you are now reading this odd little ditty in 117 countries. Reading may be too strong a word, but the pictures do paint a thousand emoticons! 😉
The mighty man at work. His genius is his art.
We Club Tropicana’d it at Pikes for an afternoon before I allowed Neil to do a little work.
Is that the Bus Stop?
The following day I left Ibiza and headed for Mallorca for 24 hours, and our new cycling base. Adam you have duped me once too often, not satisfied with the Velcro running suit, you tempted me with…. I’d rather not say! Well OK, a spa and a Raki massage. The voice plays tricks on the ears on a mobile phone! It turned out to be 24 hours of Ikea, first in the store and then constructing chest of drawers, after chest of drawers and Adam stood over me, stop watch in hand. I left a broken man, but at least with all my parts intact!
However there is a German Schloss devoid of 15ft of BB Italia leather sofa, tables and chairs, how all that fell off the back of lorry I’ll never know!
My feet had barely touched the ground, when I headed for Florence and Milan. Cloth from Andrea for a lucky few and Milan for ties.
So ice cream… Ooops
Photos of Monica Bellucci.
SPQR – Monica Bellucci
Try saying it.
Should have put a ring on it…
Wake up, I’ve not finished yet!
I stayed at Fifty Eight Suite in Milan. Guys, superb thank you so very much. Comfort and style in the centre of Milan.
May has also been cultural. An evening of Mozart’s Requiem, by candlelight in St. Martin’s in the Fields and a scary afternoon watching of watching a dozen Punch and Judy shows, tucked away in Covent Garden. Oh no you didn’t, Oh yes I did, and I have the mental scars to prove it!
Mozart – He shoots, he scores
A little stock, for those who are interested, the beach towels are back and at least you can dry the rain off, if you don’t get to lie in the sun! For those of you who are that way inclined, or prone to lying down…
Carp Beach Towel – SOLD OUT
Crane Beach Towel
As it was a Sundae I went to The Colony Grill at The Beaumont Hotel, and as if by magic this appeared.
Finally I leave with one of my mother’s gems. We were talking culture, well, mum was talking and I was nodding as if to show a faint understanding of what she was talking about. In discussion she spoke of Keneth Brannagh, and how he has moved on and his mantle is now being carried by the likes of ‘Cummerbitch’…
After those of you who thought last month’s photo was of me, this is not my Mother!
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (The World’s Greatest footballer) has spoken, he will stay at Paris St Germain if; if they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of him, the arrogance of the man. I admit I had to climb down from the top of my column in Trafalgar Square just to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Surely, the answer is in his name, it’s all about ‘him’.
Looking down on you?
It seems like and age.
Where have I been?
Have I been preparing for hibernation like a snake, fattened up for Chinese New Year, and Snake Soup?
Gong Hey Fat Choy.
Have I adopted the Northern European model of taking a mid-season break? Have I adopted a Northern European model?
Have I been travelling?
Is Donald Trump a catholic?
So since the last newsletter, it’s been Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Hong Kong again, Rome, Florence,Bologna and The Wolseley!
I’d like to thank all of you I have shared a meal with, in each of those locations, hence the reference to snake soup, although they were eclipsed by Luk Yu Teahouse in Hong Kong and their house speciality Pig Lung and Almond Milk Soup.
I was discussing this with young Jason at The Wolseley this morning, as I tucked into my Marmite on toast; Jason prefers Bovril on his, because, and I quote, “I prefer something a little beefier!” Ooh, you are awful!
In Venice my favourite restaurant was shut for a month, as were so many others for a holiday. So pickings were scarce and the tide was high.
By Rialto, not Canaletto
So I bought these interesting over-boots which had a half-life of 2 hours and sprung a leak in the middle of Piazza San Marco, leaving me to hop glamorously to the nearest duck board and dry land!
I love Venice in January. The streets are quiet, at night the mist comes down, the waters rise, an eerie silence pervades the canals and I can put on a little red cape and scare people all I want!
It’s assumed that Venice shuts down at about 9.30 in the evening, but there are little, late night bars tucked away all over Venice. So, just when you think everyone has snuck off back to Mestre, you can turn a corner and there it is, a bar glowing neon in a darkened alley way and a final cocktail to take the edge off the chilly night air, and cut through the mist.
I wonder is ‘Venice Mist’ the same as ‘Scotch Mist’, or can you get mist anywhere?
New Boots and……
Day view from my window
I prefer to arrive in Venice by train, but it was not to be this trip. I love the fact that you walk down the platform after ‘alighting’ from the train and step outside to be greeted by the Grand Canal, rather than Alan Clark (he of the dairies) in red trousers, hurtling past on a Boris Bike!
The next day I hopped aboard a train and headed for Bologna, Emanuele’s cooking and Florence for the Pitti Uomo Trade Fair.
There’s nothing on TV these days
Emanuele never ceases, never rests, he continues to produce consistently excellent food and an atmosphere and conviviality only matched by Issy at About Thyme, and Vash at the Cork and Bottle. It’s not only about the food, but about the people, the camaraderie, the conversations, not forgetting the food, time stands still, and the glass remains full.
I was working on next Winter’s collection, and what goodies I have in store for you will have to wait until next winter we have to get through summer first.
The summer stock is starting to arrive, and some interesting new developments are afoot. These I will outline in a following emails.
I followed this up with a day trip to Rome, for nefarious reasons, a long way to go for lunch, but I had my reasons.
I must admit, it was a struggle.
It followed a Champagne tasting with Vash, where Ayala and Bollinger flowed as if it were a mountain spring, and a 1.30 am finish was followed by a dash in a taxi to the airport at 4.30 am!
But breakfast Pietrolucci style and lunch at Edy, had me functioning on all twelve cylinders again. I’m now chanelling my inner Alan Clark, who as we all know should have been Foreign Secretary, if only he could have got Maggie to listen to him, sadly he was too busy fantasising about her driving a tank!
He’d have told those damn Europeans where to go, put a portcullis, a draw bridge and a moat (all on expenses) at the end of the Channel Tunnel and had this country back on it’s feet whilst doing donuts in his XK120 outside Fortnum and Mason.
Is that Mrs T in the passenger seat looking a trifle green?
Strawberry Fields forever
On the Saturday night I headed for Hong Kong to look after my growing group of friends and clients there.
Once again home was The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, and they do there very best to make it feel like home. So much like home, that the room had a dessert fridge, doesn’t everyone have one?
Now back on Terra Firma, I shall be adding further cities to my list, so if anyone requires my services in another location, I will entertain the thought!